Highly rated for his major league-style coaching! Masumi Kuwata is a candidate to succeed Kuwata as manager of the Giants, with a surprising plan to revive the KK duo | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Highly rated for his major league-style coaching! Masumi Kuwata is a candidate to succeed Kuwata as manager of the Giants, with a surprising plan to revive the KK duo

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Farm General Manager Kuwata, who is in the same shape and movement as the current players

He said, “Oh no, this is amazing. This alone is worth seeing!

An elderly male fan wearing an old Giants cap said excitedly. He was staring at Masumi Kuwata, 55, once a big star of the Giants. Then there is Nobuhiro Matsuda (39), recently transferred from the Softbank Hawks, who was demoted to the second team due to poor hitting, and FA warrior Takayuki Kajitani (34). It is an unforgettable sight for baseball fans of yesteryear.

Kuwata is currently serving as general farm manager and enthusiastically coaching them at the Giants’ farm ground in Kawasaki. On that day, after the general practice at the open-air stadium, veteran fielders such as Matsuda and Kajitani moved to the indoor practice field. Normally, the indoor practice field is not open to the public, but on this day, the door to the indoor practice field was opened specially for the many fans who came to observe. Kuwata was the batting pitcher. Matsuda and Kajitani took turns in the batter’s box, and the sound of “Kakin! echoed in the room. Kuwata was impressed by Matsuda’s sound,

“Oh, he’s getting better!

Kuwata was relieved, and Matsuda responded with a big smile. To Kajitani, Kuwata said, “I’m glad you’re doing well,

Kajitani advised him, “You’re not hitting the ball too hard.

Kajitani replied with a big smile. Kajitani replied,

Kajitani replied, “Is it a ball (laugh)? (Laughs.) “Next time, hit it to center!”

(Laughs.) “Next time, in front of center! The Giants fans who had come to observe the game were delighted by this exchange. Their eyes were on Kuwata’s every move. In fact, there are growing expectations that Kuwata will be a candidate to succeed Tatsunori Hara as manager.

Kuwata signed a three-year contract the year before last, but the team finished in the B class for the first time in five years. There are many candidates for the next manager, including Shinnosuke Abe, the head coach and battery coach, Tomohiro NIOKA, and Yoshinobu TAKAHASHI, the former manager, but the possibility of KUWATA cannot be dismissed. That said, it is hard to think of Kuwata as a manager out of the blue next season. However, a head coaching position for the first team is a possibility.

However, it is whispered that Kuwata and manager Hara are currently in the middle of a conflict, and rumors abound that they have had several heated exchanges in the past. The spark was the major league-style training methods that Kuwata enthusiastically adopted when he became the chief pitching coach of the first team in 1947.

Kuwata valued pitchers’ pitch counts and pitching intervals, and gave top priority to player care and growth. In one game, Coach Kuwata judged that the pitch count of the pitcher he was pitching was approaching the limit, and suggested to Manager Hara that he replace him. However, Hara insisted that he wanted the pitcher to work a little harder, and a heated argument ensued between the two. Kuwata was moved to the position of farm general manager this year, and it is whispered that it was a ‘demotion.

Nevertheless, Kuwata’s major league-style training methods and his diligent approach to player care have had a great impact on veteran players and young players who are being adjusted by the second team, and an increasing number of players have come to trust him. Such training sessions at the Giants farm are truly a highlight. Kuwata gave individual guidance to the players to maximize the effectiveness of their practice sessions, sending detailed advice to each one of them. The sense of togetherness was an exciting sight for the fans watching. Depending on this season’s results, a return to first-team coaching may not be completely out of the question. Then again, the dreams of Giants fans know no bounds. There are rumors that “Kuwata will be the first coach of the Giants.

If Kuwata joins the Giants’ leadership team, I hear conversations that his close ally Kazuhiro Kiyohara will be invited to join the team as batting coach. Of course, the relationship between the two is very sensitive. However, there is a possibility that the front office may plan to do so in hopes of a box-office effect. If this plan comes to fruition, the return of the KK duo would be a big surprise not only to the Giants, whose popularity is in the doldrums, but to all baseball fans. Realistically, I think it would be quite difficult…” (Sports newspaper reporter)

That’s how much the fans feel that the current Giants need to be toughened up. All eyes are on the Giants to see what will happen in the future.

Matsuda plays a series of defensive drills at the Giants’ second training ground.
Matsuda (left) and Kajitani (right) look happy at the indoor practice field.
Kajitani looks happy as he takes batting practice at the indoor practice field.
Kuwata’s pitching form is as good as ever.
  • PHOTO Shu Nishihara

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